Nevis and Snowdon Update

Well it’s time for an update on my hikes up Ben Nevis and Snowdon.

Nevis first, what a a day, what a hike, what a mountain and what a failure. Off we set at 8am ready to take on the UK’s highest mountain.

Things started off well but it soon became apparent this hike was gonna be a slog. The cobble pathway meant constant steps and the further we went , the more I gelt drained.

The group split and those with a slower pace fell back and yours truly was in that group. About 3/4 fo the up I needed to face reality.

If I pushed onto the summit, yes I would have achieved my goal, but would I have the stamina to hike 3 hours back down that bloody cobbled pathway?

I decided the answer was no. My energy was low and my mindset was not in the right place. I gave up and decided it was time to head back down.

I was gutted and every step down that mountain felt like a step towards failure. I’d let everyone down and I’d let myself down. I got to the Ben Nevis Inn and drowned my sorrows with two pints of Diet Coke.

I burst into tears at the table I was sitting at, so disappointed in myself for not pushing on.

One by one my fellow hikers returned triumphant, each time my heart sank a little lower. However, I could not let my feelings dampen their success. I was happy for them but longed for the solace of my hotel room.

I even avoided the group shot in the Inn with my friends showing off their medals. Well done them, I was so proud of them all.

Later that night we met for dinner and they all did their best to cheer me yup and tell me that I made the right decision.

Then they hit me with a surpise

Happy Birthday You Old Fart

That cheered me right up and put things into perspective. Yes I failed but its alright to fail, that’s how we learn, that’s how we grow and that’s how we get better.

The mood changed and I cheered up. Nevis will always be there, and I will be back

Fast forward one week

Llanberis, Wales

One week later I travelled all the way down to Llanberis in Wales to take on Snowdon. Determined to learn from the previous weeks episode, I changed some of my gear, lightened my pack, sorted my water and my food.

Before we started I met over 60 other people from my Trtle.com community and the energy was pumping. Sadly, the weather was not on our side and it was pissing down.

From the start the guides said that because of possible high winds up top, we might not make the summit. That did not dampen spirits, in fact I think it energised us to want to get up there and see how far we could go.

Drooned Rat

Off we set and the first part was a tarmac path but what an incline, it was so steep and I felt I was going to have to give up before I set foot on the bloody mountain.

My Trtle family had other ideas though. They encouraged me, they supported me and they where by my side.

On we plodded and we all soon realised that our waterproof gear had its limits, but again we did not let it dampen out spirits.

We were split into groups according to pace so that the guides could keep an eye on us all. The first group stormed the hill and disappeared into the wet mist.

Dafties

When we reached the half way house, word came back that the lead group where being turned back due to the high winds.

We had a choice. Turn back now or plod on to the point where the lead group turned back. My head started to process this.

I could head back now, what was the point of heading on if I could not reach the summit. Chris the guide asked if anyone wanted to carry on and the next thing I know my hand was up in the air.

A small group of us, mainly daft jocks, cracked on as we marched on into the rain, we met the lead group coming down. Again I could have turned and went back with them.

Then it struck me. Although I could not reach the summit I needed to crack on to see how far I could get and how I would feel when I got to the turn back point.

We got there, soaked through and disappointed that we could not carry on, because we could have. We were ready to for it, wanting it and determined to carry on, but safety first.

So before we turned back, what did we do………

Flying The Flag

Lions Rampant out and posing for a victory picture.

As we turned and headed down we did so with a energetic stride, a proud stride. Proud that we went as far as we could and HAD to be turned back.

It was a sense of achievement that nobody could take away from us.

It seemed that the trip down was quicker but none of us ran, or maybe we did and never realised.

Wet but not miserable we met up at the start and exchanged tales and of course complained about being wet

My Trtle Family

Once we had all been washed, warmed up and changed out of our wet clothes. There was only one thing left to do.

Get together and have some fun.

Two trips with two different groups but both sharing the experience of a lifetime. I went up two mountains within the space of a week.

I never went alone, I was never alone, there was always someone there for me. Someone looking out for me, encouraging me and telling me when I had done my best.

My Trtle community are some of the best people I’ve ever met.

Although I’ve known many of them for over a year, this was the first time we met face to face.

We met as friends not as strangers. We hiked, we triumphed and we worked together.

My take away from all of this?

In 2022 I will be back up at Nevis and back down to Snowdon and I will make it to their summits.

No matter what mountain I choose to climb, I don’t have to climb it alone.

Published by Steve McKenzie

Old dad looking to get back in the dojo, fix his busted heart, lose some weight and provide for his family.

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